Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Opinion / Editorials

Japan should immediately slam on the brakes before its wrongdoing does any more harm: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2023-08-27 19:03
Share - WeChat
An aerial view shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, Aug 24, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

In future years, Aug 24 should be observed as an international memorial day to raise the world's vigilance against a single country shifting its own nuclear pollution risks onto others.

That's the nature of the irresponsible, reckless and selfish move Japan unilaterally took on Thursday when it started a 30-year project to discharge nuclear-contaminated water from the Tsunami-destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea despite worldwide concerns.

The water discharge project means that Japan is gambling with the global marine environment and people's health. By doing that, the Japanese government has technically put the country in the defendant's dock and its shortsighted practices will surely be condemned by the international community for a long time.

Japan is a party to a number of international conventions, including the Convention on the High Seas, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter. Under these, Japan has the obligation to take all measures to avoid environmental pollution, notify and fully consult with potentially affected countries, assess and monitor the environmental impacts, take preventive measures to minimize risks, ensure the transparency of information and carry out international cooperation.

It is doing none of these things.

Since Japan proposed the plan in April 2021, its legitimacy, legality and safety have been continuously questioned by the international community. The Japanese side has so far failed to address the major concerns of other countries on the long-term effects of the move, the authenticity and accuracy of its data on the nuclear-contaminated water, as well as the effectiveness of the monitoring arrangements. The Pacific countries have every reason to take up legal weapons to claim compensation against Japan and defend their own rights and interests.

The disposal of the toxic water should have been carried out with a highly responsible attitude and in the interests of humanity as a whole. But Japan has never answered the doubts and objections at home and abroad, and never communicated with its neighbors on the issue in good faith.

The Fukushima nuclear accident 12 years ago released huge amounts of radioactive material into the ocean. The Japanese government is causing secondary harm by discharging the nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean.

The Japanese side should understand that its false propaganda cannot whitewash its wrongdoing. Japan had the mandate of the International Atomic Energy Agency working group from the very beginning by not allowing the assessment of other disposal options, and by not allowing the IAEA to evaluate the effectiveness and reliability of nuclear-contaminated water purification devices. Under such circumstances, the IAEA report does not legitimize Japan's discharging of the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea.

Japan should immediately stop the release of the water into the sea, communicate with its neighbors in good faith and handle the matter in a responsible manner.

Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349